In April 1955 delegations from twenty-nine Asian and African nations met at Bandung, Indonesia to discuss issues common to the recently decolonized nations, including economic development, resistance to racism, and the prospects for remaining nonaligned in the context of the Cold War. Although this conference was pivotal in the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement, nonalignment was not required for participation, and several countries with strong ties to superpowers, including Turkey (a U.S. ally) and China (which had not yet split with the Soviet Union), were present. Independent delegations, including several black Americans, were also invited to address the assembly. Bandung was the first meeting in the era of the modern world system that attempted to unite “Third World” nations outside the hegemony of the West, and as such it was celebrated as a historic moment by both Du Bois and many other African American intellectuals. For example, Richard Wright wrote The Color Curtain about the conference.
Du Bois was invited to address the conference, but (with Paul Robeson) he was unable to attend because the U.S. Department of State denied him a passport due to his political stance. It is not going too far to say that Du Bois had spent the last forty years working toward Bandung. Ever since he began to organize Pan-African Conferences in 1919, his global politics identified the colored peoples of the world as the group capable of uniting against racial colonialism and the global expansion of capitalism for the purpose of creating a more just world system. His attentiveness to Gandhi and issues of Indian decolonization, leading to the analysis of Asian-African relations in his journalism and in The World and Africa (1947), began early in the 1920s. During his participation in the peace movement in the 1940s and 1950s, he proposed that the maintenance of the colonies was the primary issue preventing world